Story By: Gheorghi Caraseni, Sub Editor: Alex Cope, Agency: Real Press
A five-year-old girl has been injured by riot police after her parents’ car was smashed up by police while they were driving home in Belarus on Tuesday evening.
The unnamed girl was badly injured when she and her parents, Ina and Uladzimer got stuck in a traffic jam in the city of Grodno in the western Belarus region of the same name and riot police reportedly started smashing up the car, causing glass to shatter and hit her.
It comes amid massive protests in Belarus after the latest election which started on 9th August saw the incumbent president, Alexander Lukashenko, 65, return to power for another five years. Over 6,000 people have already been detained as a result and many of them were injured by police, according to the Pravda news channel. (https://www.pravda.ru/)
According to the mother identified only by her first name, Ina, the family were returning home when they got stuck in a traffic jam and her husband decided to overtake the other vehicles. Riot police approached the vehicle and attacked it, shattering the glass which cut both the girl and also caused cuts to the father’s hands, according to reports.
In an interview with Radio Liberty newspaper, the woman said: “He drove into the oncoming lane to overtake the jam when several men in special forces clothes showed up and started smashing up our car. I saw my daughter in blood and grabbed her.
“She said to me ‘mum, I don’t want to die.’”
According to the girl’s father Uladzimer, the officials were smashing the car until he managed to tell them they had a child inside and they stopped before walking away. The father says he received several hits from the special forces agents, including one blow across his head.
According to Ina, her daughter later asked in hospital: “Were those bandits who attacked us?”
Medics said the little girl received a wide cut to her head that was around 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) long, as well as other injuries including bruising.
The cut needed four stitches and the family were then allowed to leave the hospital.
Doctors have said the child will make a full recovery and prescribed bed rest.
Lukashenko, who has led Belarus since 1994, is unpopular because of his authoritarian style. He says he won 80 percent of the vote in the most recent election but has faced protests since, in part due to his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Officially, there have been 69,102 cases in the country and 595 deaths.
During the dispersal of the protesters, the Belarusian security forces used special equipment including batons, rubber bullets, and stun grenades.
Lukashenko’s main rival, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, 37, left the country, and is currently in Lithuania, reports the News RU news channel (https://news.ru/).
In the latest move in an attempt to stop protesters organising, Lukashenko has reportedly cut off the internet across much of the country.
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